Our second edition of Reading Corner went out to readers bright and early this morning, and in it we asked people to answer a question: What books do you enjoy sharing with kids/grandkids (or students, babysitting charges or anyone else!)?
BookPage recommends. . .
If you're looking for a book to share with a toddler, try Deborah Underwood's The Quiet Book, which Nonfiction Editor Kate Pritchard liked so much, she said, "I kind of want to use it for my own bedtime reading!"
Tween readers will enjoy Jennifer L. Holm's Turtle in Paradise, a sweet and funny Depression-era story about a girl who goes to live with relatives in Key West.
For teens, you can't go wrong with Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red, a spin on "Little Red Riding Hood" complete with werewolves, a memorable sister relationship and plenty of action.
What would you add to this list?
This is a reminder that the second edition of Reading Corner is being published tomorrow! Each issue includes reviews, author features and news about children's books for a variety of age groups, from picture books to teen novels.
In tomorrow's issue, we're doing another great giveaway; you could win all the books pictured above.
One for Eclipse (June 30), featuring a dramatic showdown between Edward & Jacob (and a remarkably assertive Bella).
And one for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I (November 19), which looks completely magical -- I have enjoyed all the David Yates-helmed installments.
You'll find me in the theater for both of these. Even though Eclipse was a major miss for me, so far the films have made the love triangle much less of a farce than it was in the books (did anyone ever doubt she'd choose Edward?). Plus, I am hoping to sit next to someone as crazy as the desperately sobbing woman who was in the theatre for my showing of New Moon.
The only part of Hallows that I found tiresome -- the prolonged camping scenes -- look like they've been transformed into something compelling, and hopefully shorter, here. I do wonder what they'll do about that epilogue, but that's a problem for Part II. How about you?
Memoirs about addiction—whether to alcohol, shopping or anything else—will likely never go out of style. Case in point? Bill Clegg's Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man, published yesterday, sold to Little Brown for a reported $350,000 and is already generating considerable buzz (including a lengthy profile in the New York Times).
Some brief background: Clegg led a double life as a successful literary agent and a crack addict until 2005, when he stopped showing up at the office and eventually checked into rehab. Five years later, Clegg is back to work at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Abby, our Fiction Editor, worked in publishing in New York before coming to BookPage, and she says Clegg’s descent into drug addiction—and triumphant return to the publishing world—is something everyone in New York was talking about, long before the memoir was published. She devoured our galley copy of Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man the minute it arrived, and she said it’s a "heart-wrenching, shocking and powerful" memoir—but it’s not for the faint of heart.
Take a preview in the book trailer below . . . will you check out Portrait of an Addict?
Have you seen any great book trailers this week?
So, pretty much every reader in America has heard about The Passage, right? The buzz book of the summer that puts a new twist on vampires from an author better known for his literary leanings? If you're one of those jaded types who avoids reading the books everyone's talking about, take my word for it—this time around, you'd only be hurting yourself. The Passage is a big fat juicy adventure novel that deserves every ounce of attention it's getting and then some.
Will you be reading The Passage this summer?
Returning to fiction is like sitting down and having stiff drinks or strong coffee with old friends you’ve not seen in years. You miss them deeply, and are so happy to see them, and you can’t believe it’s been so long since you’ve all gotten together. I wrote my first novel, The Joy of Funerals, in 2003. This month, HarperCollins releases my new novel, Based Upon Availability. In between that time and now, I penned two nonfiction books, and so I’ve been looking forward to getting back to a place where one doesn’t need to fact-check, and I can just create the people and situations.
I’m so fascinated by human behavior and the strange, odd and outrageous things people do. And I wanted a place where all of my characters passed by each other, even bleed into each others lives that was very self contained. Based Upon Availability, centers on eight women who pass through the doors of Manhattan's signature, ultra swanky Four Seasons Hotel—either for an hour, for several days, or number of weeks—offering sanctuary to some, solace to others, and even despair. Here, they grapple with family, sex, power, love and death as they explore the basic need for human connection while seeking to understand themselves better.
Truth be told, I have a love affair with hotels, and I secretly long to live in one.
Hotels are sexy and offer a strange kind of mystery, a retreat from real life. I love the idea that you can be anyone from anywhere and that once you've check out, the rooms are stripped down, wiped clean and all traces of you are erased, as if you'd never been there. That was an intriguing concept to play with. I wanted to ask and answer the age-old question; ‘what happens behind closed doors’ while examining the walls we put up as we attempt intimacy, and inspecting the ruins when they’re knocked down.
As a travel writer, I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels—some amazing, some, sadly, not so much—and so for Based Upon Availability , I really wanted to bring some of that experience to the page. I wanted the reader to really get a feel for the inner workings of a property while showing the gritty, sometimes dirty, reality of daily life. I spent a lot of time sitting in the lobby of the Four Seasons hotel and stayed in one of the suites. I pretended to be one of the characters—Unlimited Lou, the aging rock star who’s in dire need of detoxing….in fact, she’s brought to the hotel by her publicist to dry out, having failed at the rehab centers. To give it an authentic touch I dangled an unlit cigarette from my lips, slapped on some removable tattoos, brought a bottle of vodka with me—have you seen the prices for a mini bottle of booze?—and played a lot of rock songs I thought the character would like or have written herself. Of course I remained sober for the experience—though I did walk around naked, as the character does, but of course, this may be far more info than anyone wanted to know. . . . Oh, the need to be honest.
I chose the Four Seasons because I’m a fan, mostly because it’s such a signature, classic, and high-end spot for many New Yorkers and out-of-towners, with instant name recognition. It’s also incredibly large with over 350 rooms so there’s a feeling of vastness and anonymity. Hopefully readers won’t have to get on a plane to feel as though they’ve traveled to New York and stayed at the hotel. But rather Based Upon Availability will make them feel as though they have.
And they also win free books! Congrats to Janet and Kristina, winners of our Summer Reading Giveaway, our most-entered contest yet. They will each receive 5 books personally chosen for them by the BookPage editors. We're putting our heads together now . . .
Don't forget to check out this week's contest and win a copy of Anthropology of an American Girl.
From Stephenie Meyer's novella to Justin Cronin's much buzzed-about The Passage, there's a lot going on in publishing this week. As always, BookPage.com will be in on the action. You can especially look forward to the following reviews and features. (Click the book titles to take a sneak preview.)
Is The Passage worth the hype? Trisha says yes in her interview with Justin Cronin
The vampire craze sweeping literature is not unlike the virus that decimates the world in Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Sure, there are isolated enclaves of holdouts, defending literature as they know it from the onslaught of supernatural beings, but most of the reading public seems to have developed an insatiable thirst for stories featuring the undead, from writers like Charlaine Harris and Stephenie Meyer.
Read a review of Charles Wohlforth's "intellectual, philosophical" The Fate of Nature
Will present and future generations help protect our planet from neglect and abuse, or will the social and political mechanisms of the market economy win out? In The Fate of Nature, award-winning writer Charles Wohlforth (The Whale and the Supercomputer) argues that humans are inexorably linked to nature and “if we’re to imprint good will on the world, those wishes have to vie in the same arena as our selfishness.”
In the YA realm, Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red puts a modern spin on Little Red Riding Hood. The review's online now, and a Q&A will be published in Wednesday's Reading Corner.
After defending her sister Rosie from a werewolf attack—and losing her grandmother and her eye in the process—Scarlett March resolves to hunt and kill the “Fenris” until every single wolf is dead. To do so, she poses as a confused and scared teenage girl, the favorite prey of the wolves, and then she goes in for the kill. Her desire to slay the werewolves is every bit as brutal as the wolves’ desire to attack. Rosie knows that she owes Scarlett her life, and her devotion to her sister is palpable. However, Rosie finds herself falling for Silas Reynolds, a woodsman also bent on killing the Fenris, and she begins to imagine a life focused on more than just hunting and slaying werewolves.
What books are you buzzing about this week?
This morning we offered the first look at our The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner review to Book of the Day subscribers, but now you can all check it out. The review can be found at this link, and in it Trisha writes that the novella is "poignant and full of Meyer's trademark thwarted love . . . a gift for fans—exactly as Meyer intended."
If you're hooked by the review, you're in luck! From noon today until July 7 at midnight, the novella is available for free online. Note that the text is available only at BreeTanner.com; you can't download it to an e-reader or phone or print it out.
Anyone read Bree Tanner yet?
Publisher's Marketplace posted an interesting nonfiction deal this morning: Paul Tough, author of Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, will publish a book called The Success Equation, "a character-driven exploration of cutting-edge research on success and failure by economists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and animal behaviorists looking at why some children succeed while others fail—and what exactly we can do to move individual children toward their full potential for success." Looks like publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is banking on a hit; the book sold in a "major deal" (aka $500,000 and up).
You may also recognize Tough's name from the New York Times Magazine, where he writes about school reform, childhood development and other education topics. Recent articles include teaching self-control in preschool and education reform as an election issue.
I've been racing through Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and I know I'll be itching for another character-driven nonfiction book—maybe The Success Equation will fit the bill? (When it's published in fall 2012, that is.)
Does The Success Equation sound like something you would read?
By the way, if you read Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, you may enjoy new education documentary Waiting for Superman, which features Geoffrey Canada and D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.